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Frequently Asked Questions about Pharmacies
What conditions are pharmacists in your province able to prescribe for?
A minor ailment is a health condition that patients can reliably self-diagnose and that can be managed with self-care strategies or minimal treatment, which can include prescription medication. The following is a list of common minor ailments that pharmacists can treat you for and depending on your province, the pharmacist may have a more extensive list. Make sure to check with them.
- Urinary tract infections
- Dermatitis, such as atopic, eczema, allergic, and contact
- Insect bites and hives, including tick bites
- Conjunctivitis / Pink eye
- Allergic rhinitis
- Candida stomatitis, or oral thrush
- Herpes labialis, also known as cold sores
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD
- Dysmenorrhea, or menstrual cramps
- Musculoskeletal sprains and strains
Patients are encouraged to speak to their pharmacist to find out what healthcare services they offer and whether they are right for their needs. Having the legislated authority to prescribe for minor ailments does not mean all pharmacists in your city must offer or provide this service.
Can pharmacists prescribe antibiotics in your province?
Depending on your province, pharmacists can prescribe antibiotics for certain conditions such as urinary tract infections and conjunctivitis (pink eye).
A pharmacist in your city will first assess your “minor ailment” before prescribing you anything. This is usually called an assessment process, through which a pharmacist will decide whether or not to prescribe you antibiotics.
It’s important to remember that just because you think you have a minor ailment or if your pharmacists see it as a minor ailment, it does not necessarily mean you are going to get a prescription for antibiotics.
If all the right circumstances and prescriptive authority conditions are met, a pharmacist still cannot prescribe any antibiotics or medications when certain warning signs are present, including certain symptoms as follows.
- A persisting or recurring condition of a minor ailment even after the treatment is over
- When signals of an undiagnosed illness are identified
- The reflection of a decline or change in the function of any organs
- The patient shows an unusual reaction to a medicine/antibiotic
Do I have to book an appointment to see a pharmacist for a minor ailment in your province?
Individual pharmacies in your province may have their own processes in place to provide minor ailments services. Patients are encouraged to speak to their pharmacist to find out what healthcare services they offer, the format of the services offered, and whether they are right for their needs. Medimap.ca can help you locate a pharmacy near you that provides the services you need in your city.
Do I have to pay for using this service in your province?
To be assessed for a minor ailment by a pharmacist in your province, patients only require their health card to access this pharmacy service funded by the Ministry of Health. If a prescription is issued to treat a minor ailment, similar to prescriptions provided by a physician or nurse practitioner, there may be costs or fees associated with dispensing.
Are prescriptions covered under my provincial health care plan in your province?
What is a prescription refill?
Dispensing includes all of the steps necessary to translate a medication order (prescription) into an individualized medication supply that is both safe and appropriate. Below is a very brief description of what a typical visit to a local pharmacy near you in your city may look like: Step 1: The pharmacist will ask if you have visited this pharmacy before. If the answer is ‘No’, you will be asked to fill out a consent form. This allows the pharmacist to fill your prescription. If the answer is ‘Yes’, they will ask for an identifier (birthday or home address). This allows for an easy search within the pharmacy's computer system for your prescription records. You will then be asked if you have had this medication before, and what it is being used to treat. This information will allow the pharmacist to personalize your medication counsel when the medication is picked up. Step 2: A member of the pharmacy team will enter the prescription into your profile, checking the: doctor’s information, medication/dose, indications from the prescriber, and quantity of the script. The pharmacy system will check for possible interactions or other potential issues through the Nova Scotia Drug Information System. Step 3: The medication bottle will be scanned and packaged with the Lot and Expiry. The medication is then counted for the designated quantity, labelled, and handed off to the pharmacist to be checked. Step 4: The pharmacist will perform a clinical check of your medication, which includes an assessment for drug interactions, allergies, as well as reviewing previous medications for the same use and ensuring it is the most appropriate drug, dose, and duration for your condition. A pharmacist or pharmacy technician will perform a technical check on the accuracy of the information entered into the pharmacy software system, the label, and the contents of the vial or package. They will also print off counselling documents to provide the patient with more information on the medication. Step 5: The patient will pick up their medication and the pharmacist will provide counseling to the patient on the medication. If it is a refill, this may include an assessment regarding how well the medication is working for you, and whether you are experiencing any side effects.
A detailed description of the dispensing process can be viewed below: Input & Initial Check (Do we have all of the information we need?) Therapeutic Check (Is the prescription right for you?) Preparation Technical Check (Is the prescription filled accurately?) Supply and Educate
- Input & Initial Check (Do we have all of the information we need?) Prescriber details Patient details (age, weight, medical conditions, allergies, etc.) Medical insurance coverage details Confirm medication/items to be dispensed Confirm indication Preference details (safety caps, etc) Prescription meets legal requirements (date, drug, strength, instructions, signature, etc)
- Therapeutic Check (Is the prescription right for you?) Ensure dosage is both safe and appropriate based on age, weight, etc. Ensure the medication is compatible with current medical conditions and allergies Ensure the medication is compatible with other medications being taken Ensure the prescription is appropriate for the condition being treated
- Preparation Select the appropriate drug, brand, strength, form, quantity Repackage when necessary Prepare when necessary (reconstitute or compound from raw ingredients) Review expiry, instructions Apply cautionary labels Complete documentation and records Organize counselling aids (e.g. written materials)
- Technical Check (Is the prescription filled accurately?) Ensure correct drug, brand, strength, form, quantity Ensure correct formula/methodology has been used for compounded products Confirm successful medical insurance processing
- Supply and Educate Confirm patient identity Educate the patient/caregiver on the appropriate use of the medication Clarify any patient issues & questions Obtain patient/caregiver signature for supply when necessary Provide additional information and advice to patients on their condition
In situations where a patient needs to refill their prescription for an emergency, travel purposes, new to your province or the country or when they can't get a hold of their family doctors, how can they go about refilling their prescriptions?
If your usual prescriber is unavailable in your city and you are in need of a medication that you take on a regular basis to treat a chronic illness, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, your pharmacist may issue a continued care prescription. Working collaboratively with your prescriber, your pharmacist can provide the needed medication to keep you healthy and feeling well. (Continued care prescription cannot be issued for narcotics and other controlled drugs).
How long can a prescription stay on file with a pharmacy in your province before it expires?
The paper prescription that your doctor gives you in your province is valid for one year from the date it is written. That being said, the pharmacist can use his/her professional judgment to determine whether or not the prescription should still be used.
Do you need to bring your ID/health card to a pharmacy in your city when asking for a prescription?
To be assessed for a minor ailment by a pharmacist in your city, patients only require their health card to access this pharmacy service funded by the Ministry of Health. If a prescription is issued to treat a minor ailment, similar to prescriptions provided by a physician or nurse practitioner, there may be costs or fees associated with dispensing in your province.
Are there areas to speak with a pharmacist in your city that isn’t in front of everyone else waiting?
Yes, most pharmacies near you in your city have private consultation areas or dedicated private spaces where patients can discuss their medication and health concerns with pharmacists and other healthcare providers in a confidential setting. These private consultation areas may be separate rooms or designated areas within the pharmacy that are separate from the main pharmacy counter or other areas where patients may be present. Overall, private consultation areas are an important feature of pharmacies and help to ensure that patients receive the highest quality of care and support while maintaining their privacy and confidentiality.
If pharmacists can provide so many services, do I still need to see my doctor?
While pharmacists are able to provide a number of different healthcare services to patients, they are not able to replace the advice and support provided by a medical doctor in your province. Pharmacists work best as integrated partners with other healthcare providers, and some of the services they offer require consultation with a doctor. In order for patients to have the best healthcare outcomes, it’s important to make sure that doctor visits remain a part of the overall care plan.
What is a compounding pharmacist?
A compounding pharmacist is a pharmacist who specializes in the preparation of customized medications for patients. This can include modifying the strength or dosage form of a medication, or combining multiple medications into a single dosage form. Compounding pharmacists may work with patients and healthcare providers to develop customized treatment plans that meet the specific needs of the patient. They may also prepare medications for patients who have allergies or sensitivities to certain ingredients in commercially available medications, or for patients who have difficulty swallowing pills or capsules. In addition to preparing customized medications, compounding pharmacists may also provide consultations and education to patients and healthcare providers on the proper use and administration of compounded medications. Compounding pharmacists typically work in specialized compounding pharmacies or in hospitals or clinics that offer compounding services. They must be licensed to practice pharmacy and must adhere to strict regulations and standards to ensure the safety and quality of the compounded medications they prepare.
Can all pharmacies treat people or do they need a prescribing pharmacist in your city?
Patients are encouraged to visit Medimap.ca or speak to their pharmacist to find out what healthcare services they offer and whether they are right for their needs. Having the legislated authority to prescribe for minor ailments, does not mean all pharmacists must offer or provide this service in your city.
How do I know which pharmacies have pharmacists that can treat people in your city?
Individual pharmacies may have their own processes in place to provide minor ailments services in your city, your province. Patients in your province are encouraged to speak to their pharmacist to find out what healthcare services they offer, the format of the services offered, and whether they are right for their needs. Medimap.ca can help you locate pharmacists near you that provide the services you need.
Pharmacy is an important part of the healthcare system in Canada, providing services ranging from dispensing medications to providing advice on their safe and effective use. In Canada, the pharmacy profession is governed by provincial and territorial regulatory bodies, which establish standards for pharmacy education, practice, and ethics.
Canadian Pharmacy Education and Training:
To become a pharmacist in Canada, one must first complete an accredited pharmacy program, which typically consists of four years of undergraduate study. To practice as a pharmacist, pharmacy graduates must also complete an internship and pass licensing exams. Pharmacology, pharmaceutics, therapeutics, drug information, and pharmacy management are among the topics covered by pharmacy students in Canada.
Pharmacy programs are available throughout Canada, including those at the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia, the University of Waterloo, and the University of Alberta. Several community colleges also provide pharmacy technician programs, which prepare students to assist pharmacists in dispensing medications and providing patient care.
Pharmacy practice in Canada has evolved over time to include a wide range of services other than traditional medication dispensing. Medication management, patient counseling, disease prevention and management, and collaboration with other healthcare professionals are all responsibilities of pharmacists in Canada.
Medication Management: Pharmacists in Canada, play an important role in ensuring that medications are used safely and effectively. This includes reviewing prescriptions to ensure that they are appropriate for the patient, checking for potential drug interactions, and advising on medication usage. Pharmacists also offer medication therapy management services, in which they collaborate with patients and healthcare providers to ensure that patients take their medications correctly.
Patient Counseling: Pharmacists in Canada, are trained to advise patients on a variety of health topics, such as medication use, diet and lifestyle changes, and disease management. They can answer questions about medications, give advice on side effects, and recommend over-the-counter medications.
Disease Prevention and Management: Pharmacists play an important role in disease prevention and management in Canada. They provide immunizations, quit-smoking programs, and advice on disease prevention strategies. Pharmacists also collaborate closely with other healthcare providers, such as doctors and nurses, to ensure that patients receive the best care possible.
Collaboration with Other Healthcare Professionals: Pharmacists in Canada collaborate closely with other healthcare professionals such as physicians, nurses, and dietitians to provide comprehensive care to patients. They take part in patient rounds, provide input on medication regimens, and provide medication-related advice.
In addition to the services already listed, there are several other benefits of visiting a pharmacist in Canada:
- Access to over-the-counter medications: Pharmacists can recommend and provide advice on over-the-counter medications for minor ailments such as colds, allergies, and pain relief.
- Prescribe for minor ailments: In Canada, pharmacists are authorized to prescribe medications for certain minor ailments. The specific list of conditions that pharmacists can prescribe for varies by province, but some examples of conditions that are typically covered under the program include allergies, cold sores, mild to moderate acne, UTIs, and oral thrush.
- Prescription drug monitoring: Pharmacists can monitor prescription drug use to help prevent abuse, addiction, and adverse drug interactions.
- Health education and promotion: Pharmacists can provide health education and promotion materials on topics such as healthy eating, exercise, and smoking cessation.
- Medication reviews: Medication reviews can be performed by pharmacists to ensure that patients are taking their medications correctly and to identify any potential problems.
- Availability and convenience: In Canada, some pharmacies are frequently open late and on weekends, making them a convenient option for obtaining medications and seeking advice on minor health concerns.
- Chronic disease management: Pharmacists can help people manage chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma, and hypertension by advising them on medication and lifestyle changes.
- Travel health advice: Pharmacists can advise on necessary vaccinations and medications for travel, as well as potential health risks in specific destinations.
- Health product recommendations: Pharmacists can provide advice on health products such as vitamins and supplements, as well as information on their safety and effectiveness.
To summarize, pharmacists in Canada offer a variety of services in addition to medication dispensing, such as over-the-counter medication recommendations, prescription drug monitoring, health education and promotion, medication reviews, chronic disease management, travel health advice, and health product recommendations. They are a convenient and accessible resource for patients seeking advice on minor health concerns and chronic disease management.
Pharmacy Practice Regulation:
Pharmacy practice in Canada is governed by provincial and territorial regulatory bodies such as the Ontario College of Pharmacists and the British Columbia College of Pharmacists. These organizations are in charge of establishing standards for pharmacy education, practice, and ethics. They also supervise the licensing of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians and investigate pharmacy-related complaints.
In Canada, pharmacists must follow a code of ethics that emphasizes patient safety, confidentiality, and professionalism. They must complete continuing education to keep their knowledge and skills up to date, as well as participate in quality assurance programs to ensure that their practice meets professional standards.
In recent years, pharmacy in Canada has undergone significant changes, with pharmacists playing an increasingly important role in the healthcare system. With the increasing demand for healthcare services and the need for novel approaches to patient care, the pharmacy profession in Canada is poised to evolve and expand its services in order to meet the changing needs of patients and communities.
- Go to Medimap.ca and enter your location in the search bar. You can enter your city, town, or postal code.
- Select the "Pharmacies" option from the drop-down menu under "Filter by".
- Click on the "Search" button. Medimap will display a list of pharmacies in your area, along with their addresses and phone numbers. You can also use the map on the right-hand side of the page to view the locations of the pharmacies.
- If you click on a specific pharmacy, Medimap will provide additional information such as the pharmacy's hours of operation, services offered, and whether or not they have a pharmacist on duty. You can also filter the search results by specific services offered by the pharmacy, such as medication reviews, vaccination services, and home delivery. If you have a specific medication that you need, you can use the search bar to search for pharmacies that carry that medication.
Overall, Medimap.ca is a useful tool for finding pharmacies in your area, as well as for learning about the services and offerings of each pharmacy.